I was asked earlier this year to teach a series of gardening classes at the gardening store where I buy my potting soil. The classes range from Starting Seedlings to Planting them out, Building good soil, Planting bare root vegetables and fruits, Constructing raised beds, and Growing awesome Tomatoes. I’ve done two of them so far, Zina being my Vanna White, and everyone seems to think they are great. It’s a lot of fun to be able to show off what we do and have it be helpful to folks as well.
The store asked me to write up a bio that they can use in the marketing they do to promote the classes. Because of that, it dawned on me that we hadn’t done that here on the blog. “Who are these loons?” “What are they doing and why?” So I decided to post the bio here for the curious. I will have to do some searching (I probably won’t – LOL) that shows me how to pin this bio to the top of the page permanently so folks will be able to see who is doing all this weird stuff.
Anywho, here is us:
>>Jon and Zina DeJong (pronounced Dee-Young), are homesteaders on Colorado’s high eastern plains. They call their place JAZ Farm (Jon, Aaron, Zina – Farm)
Jon, a recently retired financial planner, and Zina, currently a CPA and Federal Tax manager, felt a need to live life in a more self-sufficient manner in keeping with the lost ways of generations past. The industrial food system and other issues led them to investigate and then build, their own small farm near Byers.
The DeJongs first began their gardening endeavors as hobby hydroponic growers, raising all of their own salad in a grow room in their basement. This evolved into Urban Farming in Westminster, Colorado where they turned their entire backyard into a vegetable garden and landscaped their front yard using Xeric principles. From there, they found 40 acres out east of Denver and have spent the past 6 years building 50 raised garden beds, as well as livestock barns and fencing in pastures and, where possible using Permaculture guidelines to work with nature to provide for a more self-sustaining lifestyle.
Currently, the couple raises all of their own meat and eggs. Except for plants and ingredients that don’t grow well in Colorado, they raise all of their own vegetables and do extensive food storage via canning, freezing, vacuum sealing, and dehydrating . They recently acquired a small flock of Nigerian Dwarf goats for milk, cheese and soap, rescued two donkeys, and raise a flock of turkeys and some pigs. The farm is “mostly off grid”. They generate their own electricity via solar panels and batteries. Water, septic, and heat are all disconnected from any public utilities. The gardens are all irrigated with timed drip irrigation systems for water use efficiency.
Jon and Zina raise and grind their own wheat, churn butter, make soap, start all of their vegetables from seed, compost, process their own meat, weave, quilt, and are amateur astronomers. They bring years of experience to the classes from their research, the trials and errors of learning the challenge of vegetable growing in Colorado, as well as the mistakes and hurdles and successes they have encountered along the way. They love sharing their knowledge and experience, encouraging people to create community through the use of growing and raising great tasting food.
What a lazy couple of gadabouts!
Thats us. We just hang at the country club sipping high balls and gossiping in our casual attire.
That is more interesting than you likely realize. It is gratifying to know that there are a few out there.
Are you far from Denver? Do you believe that minimal proximity to large populations will be a liability when things go bad? It is not a topic I like, but you do not seem to have such difficulty with discussing it.
Also, are you familiar with Louisville? Furthermore, are you familiar with the Tomeo House at the Historical Museum? My Pa sent quite a few artifacts there.